Microsoft's video game streaming service, Project xCloud, is starting to gain momentum. The platform's preview build has now rolled out to an additional 11 countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.
xCloud is Microsoft's competitor to Google Stadia, allowing gamers to stream games from Xbox servers to a variety of other devices – currently just phones and tablets running Android 6.0 or higher, and some limited iOS support – and even link up an Xbox One controller too.
Gamers across the new 11 regions can now sign up for preview access, with xCloud's head of product Catherine Gluckstein writing in a blog post that, "when we’re ready to begin, you’ll receive a notification email with further instructions."
That's in addition to the US, Canada, UK and Korea – marking a massive uptick in the number of territories supported.
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We're told that the number of participants may be curated, given increased broadband traffic amid the Covid-19 pandemic, with Gluckstein saying that "we continue to evaluate the Covid-19 situation and will begin rolling out the Project xCloud preview across 11 Western European countries when we are confident it is sensible to do so."
She adds that, "We will take a measured approach to help conserve internet access, beginning the preview in each market with a limited number of people and adding more participants over time."
Head in the xCloud
While the preview service is still limited, with only a fraction of the supposedly thousands of games already compatible with the streaming platform, it shows that Microsoft is manoeuvring xCloud into the starting position, whenever a full launch might be.
A launch alongside the Xbox Series X console seems likely, with the next-gen Xbox hardware coming in late 2020. We'd expect xCloud to get a new (more consumer-friendly) name too – something functional like Xbox Share, Xbox Stream, or similar.
Not everyone will be able to sign up for xCloud right away, given restrictions around Android and iOS devices, but Microsoft's expansion of the preview shows that clear skies are coming.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.